HMC Ships Nanaimo and Whitehorse return from Operation Caribbe

Navy News / April 16, 2015

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Whitehorse and Nanaimo returned to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C., today after a deployment on Operation Caribbe, Canada’s contribution to the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and its approaches, and the eastern Pacific off the coasts of Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Ecuador.

The combined efforts of Whitehorse and Nanaimo during this important operation aided the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the interception of more than 5,800 kg of cocaine, while providing a deterring presence in the international waters of the region.

Whitehorse, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, and in support of the USCG, assisted with the seizure of more than 5,200 kg of cocaine off the coast of Costa Rica as part of Operation Caribbe in early March. In late March, Whitehorse, under the direction of U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South, actively assisted USCG Cutter Boutwell in the interception of a vessel of interest. Once on scene, crew members from Boutwell retrieved 15 bales of cocaine, weighing more than 600 kg, from the water surrounding the vessel.

“All the training that we conducted in preparation for Operation Caribbe paid off in our collaboration and support of the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Lieutenant-Commander Chris Rochon, Commanding Officer of Whitehorse. “I was fully confident that our crew would perform to the highest standards on this operation and they proved me right.”

Nanaimo, after being directed to search an area off the coast of Guatemala for suspicious activity on March 10, 2015, discovered 50 floating one kg packets of cocaine over several miles of ocean.

“The crews of Nanaimo and Whitehorse have made Canadians proud with their exceptional and important work in defending North America,” said Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence. “For nearly a decade, we have remained committed to working with partner nations through Operation Caribbe, preserving the safety and security of Canadians, and suppressing trafficking in international waters.”

Whitehorse and Nanaimo deployed on Operation Caribbe for five weeks from February 23 to April 7, 2015. The ships also deployed together for five weeks from February 19 to May 28, 2014.

“The Canadian Armed Forces have seen great success on Operation Caribbe, year after year, directly contributing to the interception of illicit trafficking in the region. Bravo Zulu to the crews of Nanaimo and Whitehorse for your steadfast efforts in working with our partners to counter international criminal activity,” said Rear-Admiral Bill Truelove, Commander, Maritime Forces Pacific.